Douglas Dundas, Rayner Hoff and Arthur Murch
There is a story of interconnectedness that resonates amongst the three portraits and the artists selected here from the NAS Collection that goes beyond the intimate moment when eyes are locked, and human expression is stilled.
Douglas Dundas (1900-81) taught at the East Sydney Technical College (later called the National Art School) from 1930-65. His modernist style was instrumental in the early days of painting instruction at NAS and through his establishment of a policy of collecting work by students and teachers, the NAS Collection was formed.
Dundas taught alongside Rayner Hoff from 1930-37. Hoff (1894-1937) had arrived from the Isle of Man in 1923 to become a teacher of drawing and sculpture. He created a highly dynamic school of sculpture working with countless students over a 14-year period before his premature death in 1937. One of Hoff’s students was Arthur Murch (1902-89) who attended ESTC under Hoff for one day a week in 1923 whilst working as an engineer. Murch returned to teach modelling and sculpture at NAS in 1932 and then again in the 40s and 50s. Murch is said to have considered himself more of a sculptor than a painter – the influence of Renaissance masters and Classicism can be seen in his drawing of his former 1930s student John Santry, who came back to teach at NAS from 1959 onwards.
There are many examples of artworks in the NAS Collection and Archive that have stories connecting our people and history. This is one of the characteristics of the Collection that makes it unique.
Images: Douglas Dundas, Self Portrait, c.1925, oil on canvas, 43.2 x 35.5 cm, National Art School Collection, gift of Matilda Quera, 2012; Rayner Hoff, Portrait of Mary Turner, 1926, plaster with applied brown patina, 23 x 16 x 17 cm, National Art School Collection, gift of Stephen Henstock, 2019; Arthur Murch, Portrait of John Santry, c.1940, red conte on paper, 36 x 29 cm, National Art School Collection, gift of John and Michelle Murch, 2015